Cables for Animatronics

Cables are generally used in animatronic figures to translate the linear movement of pneumatic cylinders or the rotational movement of a servo motor to a linear motion of a part. The cables allow placement of the motors and cylinders in areas of the figures other than at the point of motion. Cables help with mounting and future replacement of cylinders and servo motors in the limited space of an animatronic figure.

What Type of Cable to Use?

Bicycle cables are popular for use in animatronics, but personally I like to use model airplane cables. It is a little more expensive, but it has the following features which make it great for moving animatronic parts:

  • It can be cut to length.
  • It is very lightweight.
  • There is plastic cable for fine movements or metal cable for movements requiring more force.
  • There is grooved plastic cable available to avoid rotating.
  • Model airplane cable slides very freely within the housing.
  • There are a number of end connectors available.
  • There are connectors available to attach the cable housing to a frame.
  • There are push/pull cables available.
  • Model airplane cable supports precise movements.